Written by Denise Prichard
As a local salon owner there are a multitude of challenges you face on a daily basis — keeping clients happy, creating a fun company culture, ensuring inventory is fully-stocked — it seems like the list never ends. However, arguably one of the most challenging aspects to running a successful salon is coming up with fresh ways to attract new clients.
With a new year upon us, there is ample opportunity to make 2019 your best year yet when it comes to expanding your client list, increasing customer retention and generating more revenue. With that being said, revamping your salon marketing ideas is a great way to conquer these goals. Here's a list of ideas that will help set you up for success.
Post Photos On Your Social Media Pages — If you're not doing this already, you really need to be. Social media pages give salon owners a free (...yes, free!) opportunity to not only promote their business through words, but more importantly with pictures. Stop just telling potential clients why they should start coming to your salon. Show them. Take photos of your masterpieces, show the difference you make in each client's life — the time and effort you put into making them beautiful both inside and out.
Make sure you utilize all the big social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. At the risk of being completely cliche` -- remember, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Share Your Promotions on Social Media — Not only do your social media pages represent a good place to share images, but they also are a great channel to get the word out about any specials or promotions going on at the salon. You put time and effort into crafting fun and enticing promotions to help drive clients through the door. So, make sure they get the attention they deserve. Always share ongoing or upcoming promotions on your social pages to get them across a large audience in a small amount of time.
Online Directories - Get Your Spa or Salon Listed — 2019 is finally here and, needless to say, the days of giant phonebooks are definitely a thing of the past. Instead, your clients turn to online directories such as Yelp to connect them with local businesses in their area. In fact, about 88 percent of clients say they check online reviews on directories before ever stepping foot into a business' brick-and-mortar. So, if your salon isn't listed, and/or you haven't been monitoring your online reviews... start doing so, now.
Keep Your Website Updated and Looking Fresh — Besides checking out your social media pages or listed profile, clients also frequently spend time on a salon's website. In many cases, your website is your first impression to a new client, and we all know how important a good first impression can be. With that being said, be sure your salon's website offers these things:
- Nice photos of your staff and happy clients enjoying your services. As with your social media pages, it's important to visually show why clients want to visit your salon.
- Easy access to information on all your services, pricing, and any specials you may be currently running.
- The ability to book an appointment easily and seamlessly straight from your website.
- Links to your social media pages to build your online following.
Create an Online Look-Book with Instagram — Using your Instagram page is a perfect (and free) opportunity to show off your work and your salon's personality to potential customers. Utilize the platform to share hair tutorials, styling advice and current/upcoming trends. You can even take advantage of its video functionality to discuss unique salon services and any product reviews (especially those you sell). Many successful salons use Instagram as a means for generating extra attention and getting a conversation going with their clients... plus it can be a lot of fun.
Form Partnerships with Other Local Businesses — As a salon owner, sometimes it can feel like you're marooned all on your own on some desert island. However, it's important to note that you are never alone. You're part of the local community and believe it or not there are other business owners who are always there to help. Consider swapping promotional materials with other local businesses you think your clients frequently visit. You can even try to establish exclusive promotions between your salon and another local business in your area.
Some smart local businesses for salons to partner up with are: Photographers, Retail Shops, Spas, Make-up Artists, Nail Salons (if you don't offer nail services), Jewelry Shops and Wedding planners.
Create a First-Time Visit Special — Getting new clients to your salon can be as simple as making every clients' first visit special -- literally and figuratively. Welcoming first-time clients with some sort of "first-visit special" is the perfect way to warmly open your arms to new clients.
For example, try something like: receive $10 off your first visit. All you have to do is make sure you're providing any potential clients with a little extra incentive to step through your doors. Use these first-time specials as a means to give clients, who might have been slightly unsure, ample motivation for giving your salon a try.
Offer Last Minute Specials — For times or days that you know are usually slow, it's a great idea to spice things up with special, daily promotions. Make these promotions an "act fast" item. Set the promotion up during your slow times and blitz it out across your social media pages, website, and email lists. Watch how you can turn a systematically slow time for your salon into a profitable one.
Offer Monthly Specials — Every new month comes with the opportunity to freshen things up at your salon. Consider creating a new monthly special at your salon every month. It doesn't have to be anything crazy, the point here is just to generate a little buzz, and give clients something to be excited about. Try something like $5 off your next cut during the month of February, or 10 percent off your first blowout in March. Remember — these don't have to be anything crazy, just something for clients to appreciate. A little buzz can go a long way in terms of attracting more clients to your salon.
Offer New Product Bundles — You can't always reinvent the wheel. In some instances, to attract more clients, you don't have to. Maybe you don't have any new treatments or services this month -- and that's okay. You can easily work with what you have and essentially make something new from that. Think new product bundles.
If you're like most salons, you make a substantial amount of profits from the retail you sell. So, it makes sense to focus some of your efforts this year into your retail selection. Consider pairing some products together and creating some product bundles. If you already do this switch some items within each around to get a combination that's new. It may even be a good idea to create seasonal bundles -- for example, in the winter, maybe pair a deep conditioning mask with a hydrating shampoo to help your clients tame static and frizz.
Give out Sample Gifts with Purchases — Staying with a retail focused mentality here — consider giving away a free sample gift with purchases from time to time. This marketing idea works to benefit both you and your clients. For clients: Everyone loves getting free stuff. This makes clients feel like you're treating them to something special and will respond to your generosity with loyal re-bookings. For you: Giving away samples is the perfect way for you to test out new products with your clients. For example, before ordering a new shampoo in bulk to sell, you just order a few to sample out. If clients enjoy the new product, then you move forward with stocking your shelves with it. This will help you be smarter with the money you spend on inventory.
Start a Referral Program — Start accessing your clients' network of friends by implementing a referral program. Referral programs are great for encouraging new business. In fact, the New York Times reported in a recent survey that business owners reported about 65% of their new clients were generated through referral programs.
The key to a successful referral program is to push incentives that are both enticing, yet simple. For example, maybe you try something such as: Refer a friend and get $10 off your next visit. Bottom line, give your current clients incentives to bring new clients to your business for you. They're a great source you should never underestimate.
Start Up a Monthly Newsletter — Emailing your clients a monthly newsletter is the perfect way for your salon to stay top-of-mind and remind clients to come pay (literally) you a visit. Important things to always include in your newsletter are Current positive customer testimonials; Current specials and promotions; Visuals of services, products, and/or happy clients.
This may sound like a huge endeavor, but you can save a ton of time by using marketing automation software to easily keep your clients updated on what's going on at your salon.
Capitalize on Holidays and Events — What do you think is more compelling? Bland, generic promotions or fun and interactive themed ones? Themed promotions are a great way to help your salon's specials to stand-out from the sea of promotions being sent out by your competitors. Infusing your promotional ideas with a fun, seasonal theme works to make specials you create resonate better with your clients.
Some big holidays and events that local salons definitely don't want to forget are: Valentine's Day; Mother's Day; Father's Day; Prom; Bridal Season (June, August, September and October); Back-to-School; Halloween; Homecoming; Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday; December Holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's Eve)
Always Promote Gift Cards — Especially keeping holidays in mind, gift cards play an important part to the success of any local salon. Think about it — gift cards are the perfect gift to give for both you and your clients. For clients: Gift cards are the perfect gift for last minute shoppers. Additionally, they are the perfect gift for clients that might know their loved one wants a salon day or one of your products, but doesn't know what to exactly get (i.e. perfect for husbands for anniversaries). For you: Gift cards are guaranteed money for your salon. You've already made the purchase, so even if clients forget to redeem, your money is already in the bank.
Always Face the Day Looking Your Best — This does not necessarily mean just when you're in your salon. This means, always. Think of yourself and your stylists as models for your salon. If you're rocking a killer cut, enough to prompt a passerby to ask which salon you go to, you now have the perfect opportunity to introduce your salon. It pays to look good.
Have Business Cards on Hand at All Times — You want to appear like an established salon and business cards are an easy, inexpensive way to do so. Additionally, for the clients you bring in through word-of-mouth, business cards are the perfect solution to nab those who are forgetful. Let's be honest, sometimes it can be hard to remember what we had for breakfast, let alone remember a conversation we had about a great salon we just heard about. So, make sure you and your stylists all have business cards to help forgetful clients remember who you are and what your salon is about.
Always Be on Top of the Newest Local Trends and Fads — It's important to know the newest trends in the industry, but it's almost more important to know what's hot in your own backyard. You can learn a lot from walking down the street or heading to your local mall, and simply seeing how the local women are wearing their hair. Once you have a handle on that, build some specials around cuts and styles that will appeal to local clientele.
Keep the Shop Spotless — This may seem like a simple one, but it's important to note nonetheless. You'd be surprised how many salons leave rogue piles of hair on their floors, or don't probably clean their tools. It can be a major turn off to clients. Just be sure your salon always has a clean and tidy appearance.